Nov. 10, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - The University of Massachusetts Boston women's volleyball team will play Maine Maritime Academy on Friday, November 12 at 3:00 p.m. in the first round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament it was announced Monday morning during the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball selection show, broadcast on broadband via www.NCAA.com from an in-house studio at the NCAA national office in Indianapolis, IN. The eight-team New England bracket of the tournament will be hosted in Springfield, MA by Springfield College with all matches being played at Blake Arena.

Both the Beacons will be making their second consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament while the Mariners head to their four straight dance following their respective conference tournament championships to earn automatic bids. UMass Boston defeated Keene State College 25-21, 25-20, 21-25, 25-18, to capture the Little East Conference crown on Saturday, while Maine Maritime took down Husson College, 25-18, 25-22, 31-29 to earn the North Athletic Conference title.

The Beacons, who are the number two seed in the regional, compiled their third consecutive 25+ win season with 27 victories, including a perfect 7-0 in LEC play to tie the school mark for conference wins in a season. UMass Boston posted an unblemished 12-0 home record and has now won a school-record 29 consecutive matches at the Clark Athletic Center gymnasium. The Beacons held the number one ranking in the NCAA Division III New England Women's Volleyball Association poll earlier in the campaign and are currently ranked second in the latest NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball poll. They also received attention in the national Division III poll throughout the season, receiving votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Poll with 29, 23, 28, 43, 32, 53, 19, 30, 10 and 39, respectively, in 10 successful weeks from September 7 to November 9. During the week of October 12, UMass Boston cracked the AVCA Top 25 for the first time in program history, ranking 25th in the country and are currently ranked 24th in the poll heading into the NCAA tournament. Friday's meeting will be the first between Maine Maritime and UMass Boston.

UMass Boston is led by sophomore middle hitter Shannon Thompson (Moorpark, CA), who was named the LEC Offensive Player of the Year and ranks second in the league with 4.00 kills per set and a .288 hitting percentage to place sixth among conference leaders. The hitter ranks 13th in the country in points per set (5.03), while sophomore outside hitter Corrine Porter (Huntington Beach, CA) has also been a key player this season with the LEC Rookie of the Year honor to her credit. She's currently seventh in the conference in kills (311), while ranking eight in service aces (48) and ninth in digs (321). Her 321 digs are the eighth highest single-season total in Beacon history. Junior setter Cassy Hanneman (Denver, CO) currently ranks sixth in the league with 6.03 assists per set, despite playing in a 6-2 offensive set with two setters all season. The junior has showcased a solid all-around game with 0.49 aces per set to rank first on the squad, seventh in the LEC and averaged 1.94 digs to rank fourth on the team. Junior middle hitter Molly Rattigan (Dorchester, MA) has excelled as the Beacons' most effective hitters with a .330 hitting percentage to lead the team and the Little East Conference. Her hitting consistency has been exceptional, producing 28 outings with a positive hitting clip, including 12 efforts that saw her register a .400 mark or better. Sophomore libero Bethany Rossoll (Colorado Springs, CO) has played in 100 total sets as the squad's main libero and leads the Beacons with 4.11 digs per game, which also places her fourth among LEC leaders.

The Lady Mariners are led by two time NAC Player of the Year Chelsea Ward (Homer, AK) who has amassed 380 kills on the year with a hitting percentage that is a gaudy .367%. Ward also leads the Lady Mariners with 4.57 kills per set which ranks her in the top 10 nationally. Freshman Melissa Lail (Elizabeth, CO) earned NAC Rookie of the Year honors while collecting 250 kills and 60 service aces in her freshman campaign. The Lady Mariner defense is anchored by Libero, Lauren Sakahara (Bellevue, WA), who leads the team with 424 digs and was named the NAC Defensive Player of the Year. Setter Jenn Dixon (Woodstock, MD) leads MMA with 732 assists and 77 aces on the year. Head Coach Katrina Dagan was recently named the NAC Coach of the Year for the second straight season and has accumulated 129 wins and just 65 losses in her eight years at the helm.

Click here for the NCAA Tournament bracket.